The Reading Specialist M.A.Ed. expands and improves students' skills as teachers of reading and meets the Virginia requirements for an add-on endorsement as a reading specialist.
The program provides intense, and detailed training in formal reading assessment while providing additional experiences with informal instruments for assessing reader development.
Students are trained to be more than reading teachers; they also are trained as literacy leaders. Such preparation enables them to provide staff development and demonstration teaching for individual teachers or small groups of teachers. Students in this program are also prepared to organize and give presentations for parents and other administrators on literacy issues, analyze a school's assessment data, and provide clinical work with individual students and small groups of students.
Objectives: To provide practicing and prospective teachers the opportunity to learn contemporary pedagogy in Reading, to address contemporary and controversial issues that affect public education. This program is designed to meet Virginia certification standards for reading specialists.
Reading Specialist Requirements: Education 503, 504, 510, 511, 512, and 519; English 520; and English/Language Arts 502, 514, and 516. Substitutions for listed courses must be approved by the Program Director.
EDUC 503 Theories of Cognitive Processing: Implications for Teaching
Intermediate level course designed to introduce and explore prominent theories of intellectual, personality, and moral and social development of children and adolescents as they develop in diverse contexts. Emphasis on how children learn, and the importance of the social context that surrounds and influences cognitive development and learning. Construction of a practical understanding of human adaptation that will enable more effective teaching.
EDUC 504 Assessment in Special and Inclusive Education
Overview of assessment processes and concerns, including fundamental legal and ethical considerations and pre-referral and entitlement decision-making. Issues related to norm-referenced tests and teacher-made tests. Basic concepts of measurement.
EDUC 510 Language and Literacy Development
Theoretical overview of language acquisition. Relation of language to literacy development, including phonological processing, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Classroom-based strategies for oral and written language development and language intervention. Prerequisite: admission to M.A.Ed. program or permission of instructor.
EDUC 511 Formal Assessment Practicum
Administering, scoring, and interpreting standardized literacy-related tests and formulating appropriate interventions. Education practicum fee. Prerequisite: admission to M.A.Ed. program or permission of instructor.
EDUC 512 Needs of the Exceptional Literacy Learner
Overview and characteristics of exceptional readers and writers, including learners in special education and gifted programs. Review of scientifically-based research interventions. Prerequisite: admission to M.A.Ed. program or permission of instructor.
EDUC 519 Issues in Multicultural Literacy and Research
Exploration of the role of a specialist as a leader, supervisor, and literacy advocate. Examination of research methodologies used in reading and literacy research and how to use these methods to inform other administrators, the general public, parents, and students about best practice.
ENLA 501 Curriculum, Technology, and Teaching Methods in English and Language Arts
Examination of approaches to curriculum development as they relate to English/ Language Arts. Attention to the role of technology in English/Language Arts content and instruction. Curricular theory and pedagogical practice.
ENLA 502 Developmental Teaching of Reading
Advanced practicum focusing on the use of informal, direct measures to assess the language competence of students from kindergarten to grade 12 in both whole-class and one-on-one settings. Administration of a variety of reading and comprehension inventories, assessment of developmental word knowledge and writing holistically, and design of instruction to teach reading, comprehension, word development, and writing at children’s instruction literacy levels. Use of portfolio assessment for documenting literacy growth across the grades.
ENLA 514 Practicum in Interventions of Reading Difficulties
Use of diagnostic tools and remediation strategies in teaching reading development, use of counseling techniques with teachers and parents of children with reading difficulties. Prerequisite: admission to M.A.Ed. program or permission of instructor.
ENLA 516 Reading Comprehension
Exploration of the interactive mechanisms which readers use when constructing meaning from written texts. Special attention given to cognitive processes, expository and narrative text structures, and issues in comprehending content specific texts. Needs of ESL readers also addressed. Prerequisite: admission to M.A.Ed. program or permission of instructor.
ENGL 520 Modern Grammar: Theory and Practice
Overview of modern systems of grammar, including the study of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. Theory related to practice and teaching. Software applications included.
Requirements for Admission (M.A.Ed. programs)
Admission to a Master of Arts in Education degree program requires a baccalaureate degree from an accredited undergraduate institution with a minimum GPA of 2.75 overall and 3.0 in the major; completion of the Graduate Record Examination; submission of a writing sample of high quality; and review by an admissions committee. For experienced teachers and other individuals of exceptional promise, the admissions committee may modify the GPA requirement. Prospective graduate students are required to provide three recommendations from individuals familiar with their work, scores from Praxis I, submit a completed application for graduate admission, and provide official copies of any professional tests completed.
While the M.A.Ed. in Reading is cohort based, it has an open admissions policy. Students can enter the program at appropriate junctures during the first year of the two-year sequence.
Requirements for Graduation with a Master's Degree
Graduate students should select courses in their desired track in consultation with the appropriate Program Director or their advisor. Students can reasonably expect to complete the degree within a three-year period, including enrollments in fall, spring, and summer terms. Thirty (30) total semester hours are required for completion of the Master’s degree. All students are expected to complete the degree within a six-year period. Students who go beyond this time limit may have to take additional courses, as determined by the Program Director.
When students have completed 24 semester hours of course work, they will be required either to take a written comprehensive examination or to complete an integrative project. A follow-up oral examination may be required.
Satisfactory progress requires a 3.00 GPA. Any student in the graduate degree program whose GPA falls below 3.00 after attempting nine or more semester hours of course work will not be in good standing and will be placed on academic warning. If, at the end of the first semester of academic warning, or any subsequent semester, the student again does not attain minimum satisfactory academic progress, he or she may be placed on academic warning a second time. If a student fails to raise his or her GPA to a 3.00 after two semesters on academic warning, he or she will be dismissed from the program.
Students dismissed from the graduate program may apply for readmission after one semester. Students seeking readmission after having been dismissed must provide evidence of an attempt to improve academic performance during their time away from the graduate program. A non-refundable fee equal to the initial admission fee must accompany the application for readmission. Students who are readmitted to the program two semesters or more after academic dismissal must meet the requirements of the graduate catalog in force when they are readmitted. Students who have been academically dismissed twice from the graduate program will not be readmitted to the program. Applications for readmission should be directed to the Neff Center for Teacher Education and will be reviewed by faculty and an admissions committee.